Crusaders Host Bucknell In Crucial Conference Match-up
Feb. 9, 2006
GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
GAME #23 vs. BUCKNELL
Bucknell (15-7, 8-1 Patriot League)
Holy Cross (10-12, 6-3 Patriot League)
Date: February 11, 2006
Time: 1:00 p.m.
Place: Hart Center (3,600)
Location: Worcester, Mass.
Radio: WTAG 580 AM
Talent: Bob Fouracre, play by play
Radio: WCHC 88.1 FM (Holy Cross student station)
Series History: 38th meeting; Holy Cross leads 29-8
Last Meeting: Holy Cross, 67-63 OT (Jan. 14, 2006 - Lewisburg, Pa.)
Series Streak: Holy Cross - 1
PROBABLE HOLY CROSS STARTERS: Pos. No. Name Ht. Cl. PPG RPG G 5 Laura Aloisi 5-9 So. 5.1 4.1 apg G 10 Sarah Placek 5-3 Sr. 8.2 2.8 G 33 Brittany Keil 6-2 Jr. 9.9 6.4 F 13 Ashley McLaughlin 6-1 So. 3.5 3.5 C 52 Kaitlin Foley 6-4 Jr. 14.7 6.2
Saturday's game will be the 38th all-time meeting between Holy Cross and Bucknell in the 31 year history of varsity basketball at Holy Cross.
THE SERIES: Holy Cross owns an all-time series record of 29-8 over Bucknell, but the two teams have gone 3-3 against each other in the last six meetings, including the Crusaders' thrilling 67-63 overtime win over the Bison on Jan. 14 this season. The last time Bucknell defeated Holy Cross at the Hart Center was during the 2003-04 season when the Bison took an 85-82 decision in the second game of the season series. Holy Cross split with Bucknell last season (66-61 win at the Hart Center; 72-71 loss at Sojka Pavilion). The Bison have won three of the last five in the series.
THIS TIME OUT: Holy Cross suffered its second straight loss after a heartbreaking 63-57 setback to Army on Tuesday night, giving the Black Knights the season sweep. It marks Army's first-ever season sweep of Holy Cross in the 16 seasons the two schools have been members of the Patriot League. The Crusaders are 3-2 in their last five games and 3-2 in their last five home games. They are 4-4 at home overall. Five of the Crusaders' 11 total losses have come against Top 25 (#2 Duke; #3 UConn; #22 Boston College) or Top 25-caliber (Virginia; Western Kentucky) teams. The Bison are riding a seven-game winning streak and sitting atop the Patriot League standings with an 8-1 mark. Bucknell's lone conferece loss came at the hands of Holy Cross on January 14. The Herd's seven-game winning streak ties a program record, set by the 1986-87 squad that opened the season with seven straight victories for the most consecutive wins in the 33-year history of the program.
LAST TIME OUT: Junior center Kaitlin Foley poured in a career-high 27 points and pulled down 11 rebounds on her way to her third career double-double, but it was not enough as the Holy Cross women's basketball team dropped a 63-57 heartbreaker to Army on Tuesday night at the Hart Center. With the loss, the Crusaders dropped their second straight game and fell to 10-12 overall (6-3 Patriot League), while dipping to third place in the conference standings. The Black Knights improved to 13-9 (7-2 Patriot League). Foley had 13 points in the first half and finished the game 12-for-18 from the floor. She was also 3-for-4 from the free throw line. Sophomore guard Laura Aloisi played a standout game with 10 points, five steals, five rebounds, four assists and a block. The two teams went into the break deadlocked at 29-29 after Holy Cross turned a seven point deficit (17-10) into a six point lead (27-21) with 5:44 to go thanks to a 17-4 run in which Foley contributed six points and three different Crusaders (Aloisi, Shannon Bush, Brittany Keil) drained triples. The Black Knights, however, ended the half on an 8-2 run to go into the half at 29-all. In the second, Army led by as much as 12 (54-42) with just 5:44 remaining following a Megan Evans lay-in. But the Crusaders stormed back and went on a 15-4 tear, tying the game at 57-57 with 36 seconds on the clock after two Bush free throws. A Cara Enright jumper with 21 seconds left put Army up by two (59-57) and the Crusaders had a chance to tie, but lost possession of the ball with just 11 seconds to go. The Black Knights then made four free throws down the stretch to seal the win. Freshman guard Alex McGuire led Army with 15 points and Enright added 13. Enright also tied for team-honors with six rebounds. Holy Cross shot 32.3 percent for the game, while Army made 44.4 percent of its attempts. The Crusaders forced 23 Black Knight miscues for the game, while keeping their turnover total to less than 20 (18) for the fourth straight game.
PRIZED POSSESSION: Holy Cross committed a season-low 10 turnovers at Lafayette last Saturday, and has turned the ball over 18 times or less in four consecutive games (18 vs. Army; 10 at Lafayette; 13 at Navy; 11 at Lehigh), marking just the second time all season the team has recorded less than 20 miscues in five consecutive games. The Crusaders had 18 turnovers against Colgate prior to the Lehigh game and are currently on a five-game streak with 18 or less turnovers. The Cross started the season with five straight games under 20 mishaps (12 at Northeastern; 19 at UMass; 13 vs. Dartmouth; 12 vs. Saint Peter's; 16 at Boston College). Holy Cross ranks second in the Patriot League in both turnover margin at a +0.77 rate (18.5 turnovers to 19.3 opponent turnovers) and assist-to-turnover ratio at an 0.81 clip (15.0 assists to 18.5 turnovers). The Crusaders are 5-5 this season when committing less than 20 turnovers and 5-7 when turning the ball over 20 or more times. In addition, Holy Cross is 8-2 when forcing 20 or more turnovers and 2-10 when forcing less than 20 turnovers.
NEXT TIME OUT: The Crusaders are back at home for the third straight game on Tuesday, February 14, when they welcome Navy to the Hart Center. The Cross owns a 30-4 series advantage over the Mids, and recently defeated them, 59-55 on Jan. 31 in Annapolis. Tip-off is slated for 7:05 p.m. The Crusaders are then back on the road for contests at American (Feb. 18) and at Colgate (Feb. 21). Holy Cross has a 9-1 series advantage over the Eagles and defeated them, 59-55 earlier this season on the Hart Center floor. The Crusaders also lead the all-time Colgate series, 33-2, and downed the Raiders, 75-62 in Worcester on Jan. 24. American and Colgate remain the only two teams in the league never to win a game at the Hart Center.
HOME IS WHERE THE HART IS: Holy Cross has an all-time record of 296-80 (.787) at the Hart Center, and is just four home wins away from its 300th victory in the 30-year old building. The program's 100th win at the Hart Center came on January 9, 1988 when the Crusaders defeated the University of New Hampshire, 86-67. It's 200th win at the Hart Center came on February 5, 1997 when the Crusaders defeated Army, 92-59. The Crusaders' best home single-season record since its 200th win was a 15-1 mark (.937) during the 1999-00 season. Last year, the Crusaders went 12-3 at the Hart Center. Holy Cross has posted a record of 54-20 (.729) at home over the course of the last six seasons, including its 4-4 mark this season.
WINTER HOMECOMING GAME/TROPHY: Saturday's game will serve as the annual Holy Cross Club of Worcester Winter Homecoming Game, and a Homecoming Game most valuable player will be voted on and announced following the contest. Last season, shooting guard Jessica Conte came off the bench to score a career-high and a team-high 18 points and lead Holy Cross to an 80-74 win over Colgate, while earning the Holy Cross Club of Worcester Homecoming Game MVP award. Conte was 6-for-8 (.750) from the floor, including a 3-of-4 performance from long range and was 3-for-3 from the free throw line. The five-foot-eight Conte also had four assists, grabbed three rebounds, and had a team-high three steals in 22 minutes of action.
KEIL EARNS DISTRICT ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICAN HONORS: Junior guard/forward Brittany Keil (Sparta, N.J.) was named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic District I University Division First Team, as announced by CoSIDA officials on Thursday. The six-foot-two Keil was a District I Second Team selection last season. A Biology major with a Biology/Chemistry concentration, Keil has been on the Dean's List every semester of her Holy Cross career, including two 4.0 terms. She earned a 3.94 grade-point average during the Fall 2005 semester, which tied for 11th best among Holy Cross student-athletes, and has a 3.96 cumulative grade point average. With her selection, Keil advances to the national ballot, where she will try to join former Holy Cross greats Amy O'Brien, Kathy Courtney, Ann Lambiotte and Sherry Levin as the program's fifth Academic All-American. Keil, who was a Patriot League preseason all-conference pick, currently leads the team in rebounding this season with a 6.4 rebounds per game average. She is also second on the team in blocks (16 blocks) and third in scoring with a 9.9 points per game average. Joining Keil on the University Division District I team are Ann Strother of Connecticut, Brooke Queenan of Boston College, Danielle Clark of New Hampshire, and Joy Gallagher of Wagner College. To be eligible for Academic All-America consideration, a student-athlete must be at least a sophomore and have a cumulative GPA of 3.20 or better.
FOLEY ENJOYS CAREER NIGHT: Junior center Kaitlin Foley poured in a career-high 27 points and tied a career-high with 11 rebounds to record her third career double-double on Tuesday night against Army. Foley was 12-for-18 from the floor and 3-for-4 from the charity stripe. She also blocked two shots in her 33 minutes of action. Foley has set and passed career-highs in points six times this season (18 at Northeastern; 19 vs. Western Kentucky; 20 vs. URI; 21 vs. Colgate; 23 at Lehigh; 27 vs. Army). Her previous career-high was 12 at Army in 2004. Foley leads the team in points (323 points), points per game (14.7 points per game), field goal percentage (52.2 percent), and blocks (20 blocks). A former Patriot League Player of the Week (Jan. 30), she is second on the team in rebounding (6.2 rebounds per game) and third on the team in steals (33 steals). The six-foot-four center, who only averaged 10.9 minutes and 3.1 points last season, has started all 22 games for the Crusaders this year. She ranks second in the Patriot League in both field goal percentage and blocks, is tied for fourth in scoring, fifth in free throw percentage (77.8 percent), eighth in steals, and ninth in rebounding.
BACK TO BUSINESS: Senior guard Sarah Placek returned to game action last Saturday after sitting out the previous two games (Jan. 28 at Lehigh; Jan. 31 at Navy) due to a knee injury suffered late in the Colgate game on Jan. 24. Placek's MRI came back negative and she began practicing again last week. The five-foot-three guard played 26 minutes against Army, totaling three points, three rebounds, three steals and two assists in the team's last outing. She saw limited time at at Lafayette on Feb. 4 in her first game back, but did chip in with four points, two rebounds, an assist and a steal. Placek is just 26 points away from the 1,000th of her career. She is currently fourth on the team in scoring with an 8.2 points per game average. She is also second on the team and eighth in the Patriot League in assists per game (2.80 assists per game).
SCOUTING THE BISON: Bucknell comes into tonight's game after a 73-38 thrashing of American on Tuesday night. The Bison have won seven straight and nine of their last ten, and sit atop the Patriot League with an 8-1 record; their lone loss coming at the hands of Holy Cross in an overtime shootout on Jan. 14. Their seven straight wins ties a program record. Bucknell is 7-3 away from home this season and 4-0 on the road against conference opponents. The Bison are led by five-foot-six guard Amanda Brown (Richardson, Texas), who is averaging a team-best 11.2 points per game and leads the squad in assists (65 assists). Not far behind her are sophomore forward Lauren Schober (Chicago, Ill.), and junior guard Lindsey Hollobaugh (Loganton, Pa.), who both averaging 10.6 and 10.2 points per game, respectively. Six-foot-two sophomore center Hope Foster (Washington, D.C.) is putting up 9.9 points per game, while leading the team in both rebounding (8.8 rebounds per game) and blocks (3.6 blocks per game). Through games of February 7, Foster was ranked fifth nationally in blocks per game. Head Coach Kathy Fedorjaka is in her ninth season at the helm of the Bucknell women's basketball program and her 13th season overall as a head coach. She is 134-115 (.542) as head coach of the Bison.
LAST TIME OUT VERSUS BUCKNELL: (1/14/06) Senior guard Shannon Bush pumped in a game-high 19 points and junior guard Brittany Keil tied a career-high with 17 points and recorded her fourth career double-double (10 rebounds) to lead the Holy Cross women's basketball team to a thrilling 67-63 overtime win over Bucknell on Saturday afternoon at Sojka Pavilion. Holy Cross improves to 6-9 (2-1 Patriot League), while snapping a two-game winning streak for the Bison (8-7, 2-1 Patriot League). Senior guard Sarah Placek had 11 points and junior center Kaitlin Foley chipped in with 10 points and eight rebounds for the Crusaders. Sophomore guard Laura Aloisi recorded a game-high seven assists and Jessica Conte had eight points and six rebounds. The game was deadlocked at the break (27-27) after a back-and-forth first half in which there were eight ties and 11 lead changes. Holy Cross took a three point lead (13-10) following a Placek trey with 12:01 on the clock, but Bucknell's Lauren Schober then scored seven straight points for the Bison to put the home team back on top, 17-15 with 10:03 remaining. The Crusaders fought back to take their largest lead of the half (four points) after a Keil three-ball at the 5:36 mark, but Bucknell responded again with an 8-0 run to take a 27-23 lead with 2:28 left. Keil then scored the final four points of the half to get the Crusaders back in business at 27-27. Holy Cross shot 34.4 percent in the first twenty minutes, but was able to force 11 Bison turnovers. The second half started much the same, as there were five lead changes and four ties in the first six minutes of the half. With 14:06 left, Kesha Champion hit a jumper to give the Bison a two point lead (41-39), but Holy Cross then went on a 17-4 tear to take a 56-45 lead with 4:11 remaining. Bush had eight points during the run and Foley added six of her own. The Bison battled back, however, and went on an 11-0 run to tie the game at 56-56 with 22 seconds remaining in regulation. Lindsey Hollobaugh nailed a three with 37 seconds left to cut the HC lead to three (56-53) and Champion drained another three to tie things up. Bush opened the overtime period with a long ball from the right wing to give the Crusaders an early three point advantage (59-56). Two Bison free throws cut the lead to one, but a Foley hoop inside, a Conte steal and lay-in on the other end, and a Bush free throw gave the Crusaders a six point advantage with 1:34 left in the extra period. Hollobaugh converted on a traditional three point play to cut the Crusader lead in half (64-61), but Aloisi hit made good on two free throws to give Holy Cross a 66-61 edge with 28 seconds on the clock. Hope Foster scored in the paint to cut the lead again to three (66-63), but Placek hit another HC free throw with just 14 seconds left to seal the game. Holy Cross shot 35.2 percent for the game, while the Bison made 39.7 percent of their field goals. Bucknell outrebounded Holy Cross, 46-41 for the game, but the Crusader defense forced 22 Bison mishaps.
NUMBERS AGAINST BUCKNELL: Holy Cross is 6-3 against the Bison in the last three years, including its four point overtime victory earlier this year. The Crusaders are 2-1 against the Bison at the Hart Center the last three seasons and are 2-2 in their last four meetings with them.
HOLY CROSS VERSUS THE PATRIOT LEAGUE: Holy Cross is 171-34 (.834) in Patriot League play since its inception and is 103-10 (.911) when playing league opponents on the Hart Center floor, including its 3-1 mark this year. Under Bill Gibbons, Holy Cross is also 171-34 all-time in Patriot League action. Last season, Holy Cross finished 12-2 in the league and 7-0 at home vs. Patriot League opponents. The Crusaders have 11 Patriot League regular season titles and 10 Patriot League Tournament titles in the 15-year history of the League. The only other team in the League's history that has more than one championship title is Fordham, a former member, who won two. Holy Cross is also coming off its 16th 20-win season under the direction of head coach Bill Gibbons.
FOLEY NAMED PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Junior center Kaitlin Foley earned her first career Patriot League Player of the Week award on Jan. 30 after leading Holy Cross to two wins in the week ending on Jan. 29. Foley poured in a game-high and a career-high 23 points on 9-of-11 (81.8 percent) shooting from the floor helping The Cross to a six point victory at Lehigh on Jan. 28, after coming off a game-high and a then-career high 21 points and a game-high eight rebounds in the Crusaders' 13 point win over Colgate on Jan. 24. Foley was 9-for-13 from the floor and 3-for-3 from the free throw line to lead the Crusaders. Foley was 18-for-24 (75.0 percent) from the floor and 8-for-9 from the charity stripe, averaging 22.0 points each game. Foley had a 10-point, eight-rebound effort at Bucknell on Jan. 14, after coming off her second career double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds at Army on Jan. 10. Foley had the double-double in the first half, after scoring 12 of Holy Cross' 27 points and grabbing 10 of the Crusaders' 17 rebounds. Foley finished the game 6-for-10 from the field and 2-for-3 from the free throw line in 35 minutes of action.
KEIL STYLE: Junior guard Brittany Keil recorded her sixth double-double of the season, and the sixth of her career after scoring 12 points and grabbing 11 rebounds at Lafayette last Saturday. Keil's 11 boards was a game-high and her 12 points was a team-high. Keil was coming off a strong game at Navy with 17 points, a team-high six rebounds and two assists on Jan. 31. Keil totaled 12 points, five rebounds and three assists in 36 minutes of action at Lehigh on Jan. 28, and registered 11 points and seven rebounds against Colgate on Jan. 24. She also had five assists and three steals against the Raiders. Keil recorded her fifth double-double of the season with a 16-point, 10-rebound performance against American on Jan. 21. She was 7-for-15 from the floor, including two three-pointers, and had 12 of HC's 26 points at the half against the Eagles. Keil had scored in double figures in seven straight games and averaged 13.8 points and 7.3 rebounds during that time, before her three point outing against Army on Tuesday. The New Jersey native had a standout game against #2 Duke on Jan. 16 and provided a much needed offensive spark for the Crusaders throughout the contest. Keil finished the game with a team-high 12 points, after going 5-for-11 from the floor, including two three-pointers. Keil was the only Crusader in double-figures and had 10 of HC's 16 points at the half. Going into the Duke game, Keil was coming off her fourth career double-double with a 17-point, 10-rebound outing at Bucknell on Jan. 14. Keil was 7-for-17 from the field and 2-for-2 from the free throw line to help lead the Crusaders to a crucial conference win. Keil also clocked a career-high 41 minutes of action against the Bison. Keil leads the team in rebounding this season (6.4 rebounds per game) and is seventh in the league in that same category. In addition, she is third on the team in scoring (9.9 points per game) and is fourth in the league in blocked shots (0.73 blocks per game). In the Patriot League opener against Lafayette, Keil ripped down a game-high nine rebounds and added seven points and two assists in 25 minutes of action. Against Boston University, Keil had a stellar all-around game with 14 points, four rebounds, three assists and a steal. At UConn, Keil totaled 11 points, five rebounds and three assists after a 13-point, five-rebound night against URI and a 16-point, 12-rebound outing against Memphis at the Wells Fargo Holiday Classic. Keil recorded three double-doubles in the first seven games of the season. In addition to her 16 points and 12 boards against Memphis, she posted her first career double-double at Northeastern (16 points, 11 rebounds), and registered the second double-double of her career after an 11-point, 10-rebound performance against Dartmouth.
PLAYMAKER: Sophomore point guard Laura Aloisi (Nashua, N.H.) has been solid all-around for the Crusaders in conference play this season. She played an admirable all-around game on Tuesday against Army with 10 points, five rebounds, five steals, four assists and a block, after coming off a great defensive game at Lafayette last Saturday with a game-high four steals, five rebounds and two assists. Aloisi recorded five points, five assists, five steals and three rebounds in 39 minutes of action at Navy on Jan. 31 and also had a tremendous game at Lehigh on Jan. 28, totaling seven points, six assists, six rebounds, and five steals against the Mountain Hawks. The five-foot-nine floor general had a stellar night against Colgate as well, recording a season-high 11 points, to go along with six assists, five steals and three rebounds. Aloisi has averaged 6.6 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.6 assists in the last five games. She is leading the team in assists (87 assists) and assists per game (4.14 assists per game) again this season. The second year playmaker now has 206 career assists, after her rookie campaign in which she led the team and finished second in the Patriot League with 119 helpers. Aloisi is second in the Patriot League in both assist-to-turnover ratio (1.55; 87 assists, 56 turnovers), and steals (2.19 steals per game), and ranks third in assists (4.14 apg).
DRIBBLES: The Crusaders' 63-57 loss to Army on Tuesday was their first home conference loss of the year ... Holy Cross is 2-9 this season when held under 60 points ... The Cross is 0-2 in February games ... HC is 5-1 on Saturdays this year.
MINI MILESTONES: Senior guard Shannon Bush played in her 100th career game at Lehigh on Jan. 28, just one game after fellow senior Sarah Placek started in her 100th career game against Colgate on Jan. 24. Placek played in her 100th career game on Dec. 29 against Virginia and has started 100 out of the 107 career games she has played in. Meanwhile, senior Jessica Conte played in her 100th career game on Dec. 28 against Boston University. Conte and Bush have 21 and 15 career starts, respectively. Earlier in the season, Conte, Bush and junior Brittany Keil all hit the 500th career point mark. Conte passed the 500 point plateau with her 12 point outing at Northeastern in the first game of the season, while Bush passed the 500 point mark on Dec. 28 against BU, and Keil scored her 500th at UConn on Dec. 19.
COUNTDOWN TO 1,000: Sarah Placek came into the season with 810 career points and she is now just 26 points away from being the program's 22nd 1,000 point scorer. Should Placek reach the 1,000 point plateau, it would mark the third consecutive season a Holy Cross women's basketball player joined the 1,000 point club (Lisa Andrews in 2004-05, Maggie Fontana in 2003-04). Placek would also be the sixth Holy Cross player in the last four years (Andrews in 2004-05, Fontana in 2003-04, and Katie O'Keefe, Jeanette Paukert and Amanda Abraham in 2001-02) to score 1,000 career points. Placek needs to average 5.2 points per game over the next five regular season games to reach the 1,000 point mark before postseason play begins. She is currently averaging 8.2 points per game. In her three years in a Holy Cross uniform, the five-foot-three guard has never finished a season with an average below 8.5 points per game. Her sophomore season, she averaged a career-best 10.5 points per game. Placek's career high in a single game is 23 points (Dec. 7, 2004 at Rhode Island).
BUSH LEADS HC CHARGE: Senior guard Shannon Bush totaled eight points, four rebounds, two assists and a steal on Tuesday against Army, and was one of three Crusaders in double-figures at Lafayette last Saturday, scoring 11 points and grabbing four rebounds off the bench in Holy Cross' five point loss. Bush came off the bench to record a team-high 19 points on 8-for-14 shooting from the floor at Navy on Jan. 31. She hit two three's and also had three rebounds and three assists against the Mids. Bush recorded nine points, three steals and two rebounds in HC's 69-63 win at Lehigh on Jan. 28 and totaled eight points, four rebounds and three assists coming off the bench against Colgate on the 24th. Bush also scored 15 points to spark the Crusader charge over American on Jan. 21. She had just three points in the first half and then exploded for 12 in the second stanza, including eight straight at one point, giving Holy Cross a 13 point lead (its largest of the game) with 10:26 remaining. The Pennsylvania native pumped in a game-high 19 points on a 7-for-12 performance from the floor and had five assists, three rebounds and two steals to lead Holy Cross to a 67-63 overtime victory at Bucknell on Jan. 14. She was 4-for-7 from behind the arc and scored four points in the extra period to help seal the victory for the Crusaders. Bush is currently second on the team in scoring this season with an 11.2 points per game average, which is tied for 10th-best in the league. The five-foot-11 guard played well at nationally-ranked UConn after totaling 10 points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals. She recorded 17 points against URI, had 14 points at BC, and turned in fine all-around performance with 12 points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals in 24 minutes of action against Saint Peter's. She is also averaging 3.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.3 steals. Bush scored a career-high 20 points in the second game of the season at UMass, where she was 6-for-14 from the floor and a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line.
BEDEVILED: Holy Cross' 84-36 loss to Duke on Jan. 16 was the program's worst loss suffered on the Hart Center floor, and it was the team's worst loss (48 points) suffered this season (previous was a 41 point loss to Virginia on Dec. 29). The Crusaders were looking at a 35 point differential (51-16) at halftime (largest halftime deficit of the season; previous was 19 (37-18) vs. UVa), while putting up only 16 points in the first stanza (fewest point total in a half this season; previous was 18 vs. UVa), and totaling their fewest points in a game (36; previous low was 39 vs. UVa). Holy Cross was also tormented by the Blue Devils into shooting a mere 21.7 percent from the floor for the game, which was its lowest field goal percentage for a game this season (previous low was 25.9 percent at UMass). In addition, Duke had the best halftime field goal percentage of any HC opponent this season (64.5 percent; previous high was 48.4 percent by Western Kentucky), and finished the game with the best field goal percentage of any HC opponent (54.1 percent; previous high was 49.2 percent by Boston College).
TOP BILLING: Holy Cross is 0-5 when playing Top 25 teams at the Hart Center in the last six years. Before its 48-point loss to #2 Duke, the last time Holy Cross hosted a top seed was on Jan. 10, 2000, when UConn visited Worcester in front of the first ever sold out crowd in women's history at the Hart Center. In the last five seasons, Holy Cross has posted a record of 0-16 against Top 25 teams, including its 0-2 mark this season (84-36 loss to #2 Duke; 81-54 loss to #9 UConn). The Crusaders are 0-7 when playing the #1 or #2 ranked teams in the country. Four of those seven losses against #1 or #2 ranked teams came against UConn, during its National Championship seasons (2000, 2002, 2003, 2004).
EXTRA! EXTRA!: Holy Cross' thrilling 67-63 overtime win at Bucknell on Jan. 14 was the program's first overtime win since the 2003-04 season when it topped Siena, 59-58, at the Hart Center. Holy Cross is 4-1 in its last five overtime games, dating back to the 2001-02 season. The last time the Crusaders lost an overtime game was an 84-75 double OT setback at Lehigh in 2002.
PUT ME IN, COACH: Four Crusaders set or tied season and/or career highs in minutes played at Bucknell on Jan. 14. Brittany Keil played a career-high 41 minutes, Kaitlin Foley played a career-high 40 minutes, Laura Aloisi played a career-high 39 minutes, and Shannon Bush played a season-high 37 minutes.
ON A ROLL: With its 78-39 victory against Lafayette on Jan. 7, Holy Cross won its 14th consecutive Patriot League conference opener and the 15th overall of the 16 years the Patriot League has been in existence. The last and only time Holy Cross lost a Patriot League conference opening game was against Lafayette during the 1991-92 season (78-72 Lafayette) in Pennsylvania.
QUICK HITTERS: Kaitlin Foley scored a career-high 27 points and recorded her third career double-double (11 rebounds) against Army (Feb. 7) ... Brittany Keil recorded her sixth career double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds at Lafayette ... Laura Aloisi scored a season-high 11 points and tied a season-high with five steals against Colgate ... Ashley McLaughlin tied a career-high with six rebounds and tied season-highs in both rebounds (seven) and assists (two) against Colgate ... Kathy Gruzynski had a career-high two blocks against Colgate ... Keil tied a season-high with five assists against Colgate ... Keil recorded her fifth career double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds against American ... Foley had a career-high three assists and tied a career-high with three blocks against American ... Keil tied a career-high with 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for her fourth double-double of the season at Bucknell ... Foley picked up a career-high six steals at Bucknell ... Foley also recorded the second double-double of her career (14 points, 10 rebounds) at Army ... Sarah Placek tied a season-high with 14 points, grabbed a season-high six rebounds and had a season-high five assists against Lafayette ... Jessica Conte scored a career-high 20 points at Maine ... Shannon Bush was named to the 2005 Marriott Cavalier Classic All-Tournament Team ... Foley had a career-high 20 points, played a career-high 38 minutes and tied for career highs in steals vs. URI ... Conte had a season-high seven rebounds and five steals vs. URI ... Keil pulled down a career-high 12 rebounds against Memphis ... Jessica Pearson shot 1.000 percent from the floor against Memphis and scored a career-high nine points (3-for-3), including two triples in a career-high 12 minutes of action ... Jessica Merrihue scored the first points of her career against Memphis after draining a long ball in six minutes of action.
SENIOR LEADERSHIP: Senior guard Jessica Conte totaled a game-high and a season-high six steals, four points, four assists and two rebounds on Tuesday night against Army, and registered eight points and five rebounds in what was then her third straight start at Lafayette last Saturday. Conte also had a strong outing with eight points, six rebounds and four assists at Lehigh on Jan. 28. The five-foot-eight New York native also tied a season-high in minutes played with 35 against the Mountain Hawks. Conte pumped in a career-high 20 points at Maine on Jan. 2. Conte was 7-for-12 from the floor, including two three-pointers, and 4-for-6 from the free throw line. Just two games prior, Conte had tied her previous best of 18 points against Boston University on Dec. 28. In the BU game, Conte was 4-for-5 from long range and a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line. She is currently fifth on the team in scoring with an 8.0 points per game average and is tied for third on the team in three-pointers made (23 three's). Conte had a perfect shooting night at Boston College, going 3-for-3 from the floor, including a 2-for-2 night from behind the arc and a 1-for-1 showing at the free throw line for nine points, after a 3-for-6 night (nine points) against Saint Peter's. Conte scored perhaps the most important hoop of the night against the Peahens, when she nailed a three-ball to cut the Saint Peter's lead to one (41-40) with just over 11 minutes remaining. Conte's three-ball then triggered what would be a 14-0 Crusader run, which essentially gave Holy Cross the lead for good. Conte is second on the team in steals (44 steals), third on the team in rebounding (3.9 rebounds per game), and is fourth in the Patriot League in steals (2.00 spg).
ATTA BABY!: Freshman forward Kathy Gruzynski (Elk Grove, Ill.) came through in the clutch in Holy Cross' 69-63 win at Lehigh on Jan. 28. Up two with less than eight minutes on the clock, Gruzynski ripped down an offensive rebound off of a Brittany Keil miss and made good on the putback to give the Crusaders a little breathing room before the ensuing media timeout. From that point on, Holy Cross managed to extend its lead to 12 and did not look back, while recording its fifth conference win if the year. Gruzynski finished the game with four points and two rebounds in 11 minutes of action. Gruzynski scored four points, had two blocks and grabbed two rebounds in nine minutes of action against Colgate on Jan. 24. The six-foot-two post player also scored four points, had two assists, a rebounds and a steal in nine minutes in her Patriot League debut against Lafayette and had four points and three rebounds in a career-high 11 minutes of action against Memphis at the Wells Fargo Holiday Classic. Gruzynski scored a career-high five points against Dartmouth in nine minutes of action earlier this season, and pulled down a career-high five rebounds in nine minutes of action at UMass.
BUSH NAMED TO ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM: Just one day after senior Shannon Bush set a career-high with seven rebounds against Boston University, the five-foot-11 guard grabbed eight boards against Virginia, setting a new career mark. For her efforts at the Marriott Cavalier Classic, Bush was named to the All-Tournament Team. Bush was one of just two Crusaders to reach double figures against Virginia, totaling 10 points, a career-high eight rebounds and three assists in 29 minutes of action. One day earlier against Boston University, Bush recorded 16 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals.
FOLEY HELD UNDER 10: Junior center Kaitlin Foley was held to seven points against Virginia on Dec. 29, marking the first game all season long that she has been held under 10 points. Foley was 2-for-3 from the floor and 3-for-3 from the free throw line in 25 minutes of action. Going into the UVA game, Foley was averaging 17.6 points per game over the previous five outings (19 vs. BU; 12 at UConn; 20 vs. URI; 18 vs. Memphis; 19 vs. WKU). Since the UVa game, Foley has been held under 10 points on just two other occasions; her three point outing against #2 Duke on Jan. 16 and her eight point day against American on Jan. 21.
HIGHS AND LOWS: Holy Cross' 39 point victory (78-39) over Lafayette was its biggest of the season since its 25 point victory (91-66) over Memphis on Dec. 3. The Crusaders' 19 point lead at halftime (33-14) of the Lafayette game was also a season high, passing their 18 point halftime lead (42-24) against Memphis. In addition, Holy Cross held Lafayette to the lowest opponent halftime field goal percentage (20.0 percent) of the season, as the Leopards managed just five field goals (5-for-25) in the first twenty minutes.
LIGHTS OUT: Holy Cross set a number of season records with their 91 point outing against Memphis earlier this season. The Purple and White scored a season-high 49 points in one half (previous high was 39 points against Saint Peter's) and forced a season-high 27 turnovers (previous high was 21 against Northeastern). Through 22 games, Holy Cross is 8-2 when forcing 20+ miscues.
FOLEY EARNS ALL-TOURNAMENT HONORS: Junior center Kaitlin Foley earned a spot on the Wells Fargo/Arizona State Holiday Classic All Tournament Team after her performances that weekend, in which she averaged 18.5 points per game and 4.5 rebounds per game, while shooting .739 (17-for-23) from the floor. In the first round against Western Kentucky, Foley pumped in a team-high and a then-career high 19 points on 9-of-12 shooting, surpassing her previous career high of 18 points set earlier this season at Northeastern. Then in the consolation game, the Albany native scored a game-high 18 points and grabbed five rebounds in 26 minutes of action in Holy Cross' 91-66 blowout win over Memphis.
HEALTHY PROPORTIONS: As a team, Holy Cross ranks second in assist-to-turnover ratio (0.81), averaging 15.0 assists per game and 18.5 turnovers per game. Guard Laura Aloisi ranks second in the Patriot League in assist-to-turnover ratio with a 1.55 ratio (87 assists to 56 turnovers).
STREAK ENDS: Brittany Keil was 12-for-12 (1.000 percent) from the free throw line going into the Memphis game, but made just 6-of-9 foul shots against the Tigers, ending her bid to reach Maggie Fontana `05, who set a program record with 26 consecutive free throws (across five games). For the season, Keil is now 33-for-41 from the line (80.5 percent), which is second best on the team.
GETTING TO THE LINE: Two of the Top 5 free throw shooters in the Patriot League are Holy Cross Crusaders. Senior guard Shannon Bush ranks fourth at an 82.1 percent clip, while junior center Kaitlin Foley is fifth, making 77.8 percent of her attempts. As a team, Holy Cross ranks fifth in the conference in free throw percentage (67.0 percent).
TOUGH `D': The Crusaders are ranked in the top 3 in the Patriot League in a number of defensive categories this season. They lead the conference in three-point field goal percentage defense (28.1 percent), and are ranked second in the league in both steals (10.64 steals per game), and blocks (2.55 blocks per game). Holy Cross held Memphis to 34.3 percent from the floor, Saint Peter's to 27.5 percent from the floor and Lafayette (Jan. 7) to a season-low 27.3 percent from the floor.
BATTLE OF THE BOARDS: Holy Cross has been outrebounded in 17 out of 22 games this season, and is in last place in the conference with a -7.5 rebounding margin this year. The Crusaders are 3-2 when outrebounding opponents and are below the .500 mark (7-10) when their opponents grab more caroms. Holy Cross has been outrebounded 944-779 overall this season, including a 326-258 disadvantage on the offensive glass.
CRUSADERS PICKED TO REPEAT: Holy Cross was picked first in the Patriot League preseason poll for the second consecutive season. The Crusaders received 94 total votes, inlcuding 11 first place nods. Holy Cross is coming off its 16th 20-win season under the direction of head coach Bill Gibbons and its 10th Patriot League Tournament Title.
KEIL NAMED PRESEASON ALL-LEAGUE: Junior Brittany Keil was named to the Patriot League Preseason All-League Team. Keil returns to the Holy Cross line-up as the team's top scorer (9.6 ppg) and rebounder (5.3 rpg). She is also the team's top three-point (.420 percent) and free throw (.810 percent) shooter from a year ago.